Category: Travel

Leaf Peeping Road Trip Planner with Vintage Style

With all the isolating during the pandemic, we’ve been longing for a vacation. Since fall is my favorite season, we decided to check out the leaf-peeping opportunities close by in Colorado. So we planned a series of leaf-peeping road trips that involved no human interaction. Here’s how we did it:

I mapped out some prime leaf-peeping destinations within a two-hour drive from our home. Since we were going there and back in a day, we didn’t want to spend hours in the car. I planned to hit some of the scenic byways for optimal fall color and good picnic spots.

Road Trip Planner – Safety during COVID

Avoiding human interaction and potential COVID exposure meant not staying overnight in a hotel, avoiding restaurants and public bathrooms, and sadly, no souvenir shopping.

We avoided hotels by driving out for the day and coming back at night. We stayed out of restaurants by packing our own food in a picnic basket and cooler. And I made my own restroom with a popup tent. Read on for details.

We brought our face masks (mine had fall leaves on it!)  and hand sanitizer because we did spend a little time wandering through the historic main streets of some little mountain towns, but mostly we stayed among the trees and avoided people altogether.

Road Trip Essentials

Leaf Peeping Fall Picnic Ideas

We packed a picnic basket and a cooler loaded with sandwiches and snacks. My favorite sandwich of the trip was avocado (mix with sour cream to avoid browning) with chopped baked chicken and mayo. And I packed loads of Trader Joe’s fall-themed snacks to stay in the autumnal spirit. We also packed cloth napkins and filled reusable bottles with water and thermoses with coffee. (I try to be eco-friendly as much as possible.)

We had some options on how to picnic. I bought a cute red-checkered (of course) picnic blanket we could lay on the ground. We also brought a couple of chairs. One day, we just sat and ate out of the back of the SUV.

CottegeCore Blogger Picnic

Avoiding Public Restrooms

Since we wanted to avoid all public places, the biggest challenge was how to use the restroom. It’s a little easier for my husband to duck behind a tree than for me. I researched what campers do (Warning: TMI ahead) and discovered a handy tool called the PStyle that allows us ladies to pee standing up just like the fellas. I also got a urinal bottle to pee into because sometimes the ground isn’t appropriate. The container was then emptied and rinsed with a bottle of water in the nearest available forest. Then I cleaned my hands with anti-bacterial wipes and put the wipes in a bag to take home and dispose of (we practice Leave no Trace).

But still, I like a little privacy. I discovered some campers create their own bathroom with a one-person popup tent you can stand up in. I found an affordable one on eBay, and voila, my own personal bathroom on the road! Some tips on the popup tent: It helps to have two people. It’s very lightweight and will blow away in the wind if you don’t have someone holding it. It also helps to have two people to fold it back up because it’s a little big and cumbersome. But it packs easily in the car and gives you all the privacy you need. What a relief!

Pop up tent camping bathroom

Road Trip Activities

One of the goals on our mini vacation was to relax. This year has been so stressful. We wanted to go totally offline, no news, no social media. So we planned time to just find pretty spots and unwind. I brought pillows and blankets for naps, books, even coloring pages and colored pencils (coloring is very soothing). We made some time just to chill in the beauty of the trees.

Leaf Peeping Fall Outfits

I love dressing for fall. The opportunities for lots of layers and mixing and matching separates in different patterns and textures is so much fun. It was still a little warm out during our trip, so I didn’t layer as much as I would have liked, but I wanted to wear some cute styles for pictures among the trees. One key during leaf peeping, no heels, so I wore my trusty, comfy, flat, lace-up boots, Little Women-style with swing skirts. I also packed some hiking clothes if we wanted to take off on one of the trails (my portable restroom also doubles as a dressing room!)

Vintage Style Fall Fashion 1: Burgundy Twirls

Fall for me means switching from summertime pencil skirts to circle skirts I can layer underneath and wear with chunky boots. I love the swing skirts from Steady Clothing. They give great twirls! I paired it with a  sweet detachable color with fall leaf detail

Colorado Fashion Blogger


Peter Pan Detachable Collar

Vintage Style Fall Fashion 2: Mad for Plaid

Greens and blues make great fall hues. I paired a plaid vintage skirt with a paisley vintage scarf, a simple t-shirt and thrifted sweater to create this look. A bracelet with fall leaves added an autumnal touch. And I scored the perfect fall purse on Etsy, a vintage wood box purse with decoupage leaves. So festive for the season!

Vintage Style Blogger

Fall leaf bracelet

Vintage purse with fall leaves

Vintage Style Fall Fashion 3: Adding Layers

A chill in the mountain air meant it was time to add a jacket over a cardigan sweater. Another swing skirt and t-shirt base with a delightful detachable collar featuring a sweet deer. 

Colorado Lifestyle Blogger

Detachable Peter Pan Collar with Deer Image

Leaf Peeping Colorado

Ready for your own leaf-peeping adventure? The leaves turn in Colorado starting in mid-September to early October from the high country down to the cities in the lower elevations. Here are some of the best places to see the show:

Trail Ridge Road – runs through Rocky Mountain National Park. Be aware you need a park pass, and during COVID, a reservation for timed entry.

Vail’s Scenic Byway – the leaves are beautiful almost everywhere around Vail. Look for the scenic byways to make the most of it.

Peak to Peak Scenic Byway – this will take you from Estes Park, which is worthy of its own leaf peeping, down to Central City, a historic town that makes a good pit stop.

Guanella Pass – a gorgeous drive through the Aspens. Be aware that it gets crowded during peak leaf peeping. Watch for people wandering the road taking pictures.

Kenosha Pass – a nice long drive filled with fall color. Plus, lots of hiking trails to get out and be in it.

Until next time,



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Category: Travel

Checking out the Rockabilly Scene and Expo in Colorado

k150_28Stiletto_City_heel_iconSZDFall has arrived and it’s my favorite season because my birthday happens, the weather turns cooler, and the trees change their colors. Since we don’t really get a feel for it in Los Angeles with its endless summers, I like to travel every fall. This year, I headed to Colorado for the Rockabilly Expo, which happened to take place during the perfect weekend for leaf peeping in the Rocky Mountains.

Read all about the Rockabilly Expo over on the Voodoo Vixen website where I did a guest blog. It was a full day of music, vendors, and a pinup contest that takes place in Colorado Springs.

Rockabilly Expo Colorado Springs

pinupcontestRockabilly Expo Colorado Springs Pinup Contest

We also headed up into the mountains of Evergreen outside of Denver to see the aspen trees shimmer with a bright gold and sweeps of red. It’s so beautiful up there!

Colorado leaf peeping


What I Wore

For the Rockabilly Expo, I put on the Voodoo Vixen “Connie” dress with the unique crisscross cut on top and retro glasses print. Some easy Mary Jane heels helped keep my feet in check for the daylong event. I added some sparkle with retro-inspired, confetti-baked Lucite earrings.

rockabilly look

What To Wear

For an authentic rockabilly look, you can’t go wrong with a swing dress. This 1950’s cut in a warm fall color is sure to turn heads. Add a crinoline petticoat underneath to really accentuate the hourglass silhouette. Some retro inspired, t-strap heels and red lipstick complete the look. Click the links to shop* this look!


rockabilly look

The Rockabilly Expo takes place every year in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Shake, rattle and roll,


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Category: Travel

Travel Wear for a Trip to Australia

k150_28Stiletto_City_heel_iconSZDThere’s nothing like a trip halfway around the world to feel like a true getaway. I recently returned from my honeymoon (see wedding fashion news HERE) in the land down under. We took the very long flight to Sydney, Australia, which we found to be beautiful, clean and safe. There was so much to do; it kept us busy day and night. We got almost a daily eyeful of the stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as we ferried to different areas to explore. We could not have been luckier with the weather, though it was wintertime there, it didn’t get too cold – a refreshing 60 degrees during the day and clear blue skies. I did need to buy a few warm clothes for nighttime when it got down to the 40’s, and that’s nippy when you’re from L.A. and out walking around seeing the sights!

OOTD travel wear

We stayed in a hotel right along the appropriately named Darling Harbor, surrounded by sparkling water. We happened to be there the week of the Vivid Festival, a week-long, citywide celebration of arts and lights. We caught some of the light shows along the harbor and went to events for the Clipped Music Festival, the first festival dedicated to the art of music videos. The event took place at the multi-use space, The Works, where cheerful staff members served up coffee and snacks on the main floor. Upstairs was a theater space and lounge where you could see music videos on the big screen. By day, the top-level offices buzz with activity from resident production companies. The location was along Glebe, which is an increasingly trendy area of cafes and shops with a boho feel and an awesome Saturday market.

Clipped Music Video Festival
Clipped Music Festival

The Works in Glebe
The Works in Glebe

I had one main mission on my trip to Australia, and that was to meet a Koala. Unfortunately, I learned that petting or hugging Koalas is now forbidden due to the fact that they can spread some contagious nasties, and it actually really stresses them out. (OK, I guess I’ll just look at them.) But we went out to the Koala Park Sanctuary where you can get really, really close and they are absolutely adorable.

Koala Sanctuary, Sydney Australia

While there, we did get to pet and feed kangaroos, which was just as exciting. The venue has an enclosed kangaroo yard space, and you just walk in. The roos will come right up to you looking for a treat (which you can purchase at the entrance.) I was hesitant at first, putting a little bit of the dried grass snack in my hand. But my new friend just nibbled it right out of my palm and licked my fingers. Then looked at me with big brown eyes and funny little buck teeth for more. After I let him eat a bit I got up the nerve to pet him and found, much like my cat, he loved a good chin and neck scratching!

We also visited the famous Taronga Zoo to see even more animals and take in the amazing views from up on the hills that serve as a backdrop for the giraffes (my favorites!) and the cable car ride from the box office to the ferry.

Toronga Zoo

I managed to get in a little shopping while I was there, picking up some souvenirs at the market at The Rocks, some vintage earrings in Newtown (which is the equivalent to LA’s Silver Lake in terms of underground hipster vibe), an awesome  furry black jacket in Chinatown’s Market City, and a fantastic hot pink, long, wool coat for ten bucks at the Glebe Market.

While we were in Chinatown, we also stopped for some authentic Chinese cuisine and picked up some sweet buns that were so good I’m still thinking about them!

Sydney Chinatown

Whenever I travel, I always check out the local vintage shops. I didn’t find too much vintage I liked in Sydney; most carried a lot of denim and boots and items from the ’80s and ’90s. One store I liked was Zoo Vintage Emporium in Surry Hills, which had great stuff from earlier eras.

Vintage Zoo, Sydney Australia

On our last night, we went for drinks with some friends we met around town at Frankie’s Pizza By the Slice, a great rock ‘n’ roll dive bar that reminded me of CBGB’s with posters and stickers covering the walls. We took over the intimate basement bar while rock ‘n’ roll karaoke took place in the main room upstairs with people getting up to sing with the house band. It was a great send off from a city we fell in love with.


Our next stop was Melbourne for a short stay with friends. Melbourne is a bustling urban city, packed with people with lots of little “Laneways” off the main streets for shopping and cafes. It made it particularly difficult to find what would turn out to be my favorite vintage store on the trip, RetroStar Clothing, which is off busy Swanston street and up on the third floor of a little arcade of shops. The place was big and full of clothes from the ‘40s to the ‘80s. I was in heaven! I wish I had more time to shop there. I did make out like a bandit in the trendy Fitzroy area and discovered my favorite store in the city, Dangerfield, that had ultra cute, slightly retro alternative styles. They were having a sale and I scored some warm plaid pants, guitar print socks, and boho floppy hat.

Melbourne Shopping

We were not as lucky with the weather on our last couple of days, which was cold and rainy, so we headed for indoor entertainment at the museums.

We checked out the Martin Scorsese exhibit at The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), a really nice facility dedicated to film. The exhibits had clips and behind the scenes info on all of Scorsese’s films and memorabilia including handwritten storyboards and costumes.

Next door at the National Gallery of Victoria, I went to see 200 years of Australian Fashion, a lengthy exhibit tracing fashion trends through the decades. Of course being from the States, I didn’t know many of the designers but it was a treat to discover them.

Melbourne 200 Years of Australian Fashion

And that did it for us in the land down under. Totally worth the 15-hour flight to get there!

What I Wore

I like to travel light when it comes to clothes. (My beauty products usually take up most of the room in my suitcase!) I tend to go with things that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. I also bring a bagful of colorful vintage scarves that can be worn in my hair or around my neck to change the look of an outfit. And I leave home a lot of accessories so I can buy more on my trip , which make for fabulous souvenirs! Here I’m wearing some skinny jeans with a cute print, a Ramones tee, a leopard print scarf I picked up at one of the markets and a faux fur jacket I got in Chinatown. I also brought the pink overcoat you see in the above photos, a light sweater, a heavier sweater, a pencil skirt, and some other tees and scarves.

OOTD Glebe  

What to Wear: Travel Clothes

For the most part, just bringing layers is a good bet so you can add or remove as needed. The key to layers is to add interest by combining textures and patterns. As long as they are in the same color family, your look will be coordinated. If you’re traveling in winter, I like to bring base layers, which are thin leggings and tops from outdoor wear companies like Patagonia or North Face, so I can throw them on under my outfits when it gets really chilly and they don’t add bulk to me or my suitcase.

Pack a few of your favorite graphic tees like this Wonder Woman tank and a basic black pencil skirt that goes with everything and can be dressed up or down. Bring a light cardigan sweater like this one with a fun print to add texture. Top it with a colorful scarf around your neck or in your hair. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes like these low-heeled oxfords and a satchel bag big enough to carry all you will need for a day of sightseeing. Make sure it has good closure because some tourist areas can have pickpockets! Click the links to shop* this look!

Travel Look

Thanks Australia, hope to see you again!


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